”]I think everyone can agree the film industry is heavily tilted towards glorifying the young and beautiful. But could the winds be shifting to more mature filmmaking for more mature audiences? The Los Angeles Times argues that Gray is Good in Hollywood these days:
Hollywood is, of course, still persistently, obsessively interested in young audiences. Yet in certain quarters, at least, it’s a little less about the prepubescents these days. Two of the most notable action movies of 2010 were “The Expendables”and “Red” — films that not only prominently feature actors over 55 but that also turn characters’ length of tooth into central plotlines.
Some of the end-of-year crop of serious movies, meanwhile, submit that a character’s twilight years represent the most interesting phase of his or her existence. “Barney’s Version”tells of a man ( Paul Giamatti) who’s lived a full but complicated life and enters old age as feisty as ever. TheRobert Duvall-starring “Get Low” describes an eccentric hermit who throws his own funeral while still alive. “True Grit”examines a down-and-out bounty hunter ( Jeff Bridges) who finds redemption despite a jaded temperament forged by decades of doing the same difficult work.
And in Mike Leigh‘s “Another Year,” perhaps the most age-explicit film of the bunch, a graying middle-class couple ( Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen) form the center of a constellation of dysfunctional friends and family.
What many of the newer films have in common… is a willingness not only to delve into the texture of the senior experience but to upend conventional notions of older age. “Hollywood used to treat older people as dead ends — at best they sat in a chair and provided wisdom to a younger generation,” said Bill Newcott, the entertainment editor at AARP The Magazine and founder of its Movies for Grownups awards program. “There’s a much more well-rounded vision of older people now.”
What in the name of Betty White is happening?
Of course the story makes the mandatory inference that aging baby boomers are responsible:
With the first wave of baby boomers set to hit 65 in this new year, seniors are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. And the elderly are spending their newfound free time going to movie theaters, an experience many grew up with but didn’t have much time for until recently. According to the Motion Picture Assn. of America, men and women over 50 constitute 20% of the “frequent moviegoing” population — the same percentage as Americans ages 25-39.
The full article delves deeper into the demographic movie-goer debate and is well worth reading. It also ends on a hopeful high note:
Younger people now view the elderly differently from how previous generations did, experts say. One result? Movies capable of appealing to people across the age spectrum. “The demographics and attitudes of the nation,” Newcott said, “are going to yield more movies aimed at an older demographic that also appeal to a younger audience.”